BJP netas line up their Dalit household for Shah outreach | dehradun | Hindustan Times
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BJP netas line up their Dalit household for Shah outreach

Ahead of Amit Shah’s two-day visit beginning September 19, the BJP leaders are jostling among themselves to get their Dalit household grab the honour

dehradun Updated: Sep 08, 2017 20:20 IST
Anupam Trivedi 
BJP state unit chief Ajay Bhatt addresses party workers in Dehradun on Friday.
BJP state unit chief Ajay Bhatt addresses party workers in Dehradun on Friday. (Vinay S Kumar / HT Photo)

It’s a photo op none wants to miss. The competition is fierce. The prize: To get BJP president Amit Shah dine with a ‘handpicked’ Dalit family. Ahead of Shah’s two-day visit beginning September 19, the BJP leaders are jostling among themselves to get their Dalit household grab the honour.

BJP insiders say the party legislators and the district office bearers are approaching party state president Ajay Bhatt with a request that Shah dine in their area. 

During his two-day stay, Shah will attend meetings with legislators, state office bearers and other senior leaders. For the last four months, the BJP president is travelling through various states. Bhatt said though Shah was earlier scheduled to spend three days, the tour was cut short. 

As part of the Dalit outreach programme, Shah is expected to have a meal with a Dalit family. He had done this in Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and other states where he visited in the last few months. In the assembly polls earlier this year, the BJP won 57 out of the total 70 assembly seats.

Political experts say a section among the Dalits - who traditionally voted for the Congress - shifted to the saffron party, and this gives the party the hope to consolidate its position among the Dalits. 

Khajan Das, BJP dalit legislator from Rajpur constituency, told Hindustan Times that several Dalit families from his constituency want Shah to dine with them. Personally, Das feels he has “genuine” Dalit families in his constituency.  “Having a meal with a Dalit family is not just a formality but it also sends a strong message that the BJP believes in equality. As a legislator, I will be very happy if the BJP president spends some time with a schedule caste family from my constituency,” he admits.

Several slums are located in the Rajpur constituency and the BJP legislator says he has a stronger case as only “downtrodden” families live at such places. 

Bhatt accepts that the party leaders are coming to him with the requests but adds either the lucky Dalit family was picked nor Shah’s office has passed any communication on whether he is interested in having meal with a Dalit. 

The visit has a broader purpose, he asserts. “Besides having a word with the party leaders, Shah will assess the progress of the Prime Minister’s pet programmes. ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padao’ is one such message which has to pass on till the grass-root. We have been doing our bit,”” Bhatt says.

Shah will also have a word on the coordination between the government and the party organisation, he adds.